Record Details

NHER Number:92
Type of record:Monument
Name:Medieval wells and site of Sir Thomas Browne's house, 3-5 Orford Place


In 1956 the digging of foundations for a shop for Lennards Shoes Ltd discovered four wells in an area of charcoal, seeds, pottery, daub and animal bones. The pottery dated to the 12th-15th century. It is also worth noting that this location is where Sir Thomas Browne's house once stood and the ceiling of the study of this property is in store at Strangers Hall.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 2301 0834
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

Site of Sir Thomas Browne's House (3-5 Orford Place).
This was once the site of Sir Thomas Browne's House. Sir Thomas Browne practiced medicine in Norwich from 1637 to 1682. He was also a polymath, interested in science, medicine, religion, and the esoteric, and published many works including papers on archaeological remains such as Saxon urns (see NHER 2030). A statue of Sir Thomas Browne is located in Hay Hill (see NHER 47941).
The residence which stood here is believed to have had Tudor origins. In 1928 the building was owned by the Green family and one of the family members drew a tudor ceiling (S1) in the house believed to date to 1566 and located in a room which may have been Sir Thomas Browne's study. An undated photograph (S2) of this room also survives. Unfortunately, the building was destroyed in the late 1950's (see excavation notes below) or 1960's to build a new shop (S3). However, following campaiging by the Norfok and Norwich Archaeological Society, the tudor ceiling and a second larger ceiling (see plan (S4)) were removed and stored with the intention of finding a new home for them. One was granted to Kirstead Hall to be installed there, but this was ultimately not carried out. In 1994 the ceilings were under the care of Norwich City Council and stored in two separate locations.
Information from correspondence (S3).
H. Hamilton (HES), 10 August 2018.

1956. In digging foundations for shop for Lennards Shoes Ltd. Site of Sir Thomas Browne's house.
4 wells found in area of charcoal, seeds, pottery, daub and animal bones. Pottery 12th-15th century.
Well II contained 13th century glazed jug.
Well III contained late medieval glazed pottery.
Finds held by NCM.
Information from record card (S5).
For further details see file NCM.
See also short note (S5) and discussion of pottery (S6).

Monument Types

  • WELL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • PLANT REMAINS (Undated)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Drawing: Colman Green, G.. 1928. Plan of Tudor ceiling in former house of Sir Thomas Browne, Old Haymarket, Norwich. Plan.
<S1>Drawing: Feilden and Mawson. 1928. Plan of historic ceiling removed from former house of Sir Thomas Browne, Old Haymarket, Norwich. Architectural Plan. Paper A0. Not to scale.
<S2>Photograph: [Unknown]. [unknown]. Tudor ceiling from Green's Ltd, Old Haymarket (now 305 Orford Place), Norwich. print. colour?.
<S3>Correspondence: Cresswell, I. 1994. Letter regarding ceilings from Green's Ltd., Old Haymarket, Norwich. 29 October.
<S5>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
<S6>Serial: 1956. Council for British Archaeology Group 7 Bulletin of Archaeological Discoveries. No 3. p 4.
<S7>Monograph: Jennings, S. 1981. Eighteen Centuries of Pottery from Norwich. East Anglian Archaeology. No 13.

Related records

Site 847Parent of: 3-5 Orford Place (Monument)
Mon 570Parent of: 3-5 Orford Place (Monument)

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